Document Type


Peer Reviewed



The marginal art of two late-thirteenth-century Arthurian romance manuscripts from French-Flanders are rife with motifs depicting violent battles. One such motif is that of a mounted joust between a knight and a woman. The knight is weaponless, but the woman wields a distaff, a tool used to spin wool or flax, as a lance in order to penetrate the knight. By contextualizing this motif with the text of the Vulgate Arthur, as well as the socio-political moment within which the manuscripts were produced, this article seeks to investigate how its inclusion could direct certain interpretations of the narratives in accompanies.


Distaff, Marginal Art, Arthurian, Manuscript, Romance, Weapon, Violence, Jousting, Dampierre, Spinning, French-Flanders

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